He was just one number away from hitting the $564 million jackpot. Raul Bernal, a 59-year-old man from Cypress, isn't disappointed though. His lottery ticket matched five out of six numbers, making it worth a whopping $1,428,692 before federal taxes, the California Lottery said.
Bernal's ticket was one of three 2nd place Powerball tickets sold in California.
Bernal, a salesman at a lumber company, told lottery officials that he was driving to work when he discovered his win. Although he had just become a newly minted millionaire, Bernal wasn't in a rush to claim his prize. He continued working that day and even left the ticket inside his car to avoid wrinkling it.
"I parked the car in front of the office. I was looking at it once in a while," Bernal said in a news relase.
Bernal didn’t share the news of his good fortune with any of his co-workers and waited to tell his wife, Susan.
"She didn’t believe me at first," Bernal told NBC4. He said he showed her the winning numbers and the numbers on his ticket to prove that he had won.
His wife told lottery officials that she was "still in shock" after learning of her husband’s win. The couple said they plan to keep their jobs, but the lottery money "gives us a sense of security for retirement," she said.
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"It takes some of the burden away," she added.
The Bernals said they also plan on saving the bulk of the money for their retirement and want to use the remaining funds to remodel their Cypress home and travel the world.
"It’s a blessing," the lucky lotto winner said.
Bernal purchased the ticket from a 7-Eleven in Cypress. The convenience store, along with retailers in San Leandro in Alameda County and Lee Vining in Mono County will receive a $7,000 bonus for selling the other winning tickets. These businesses have also been added to the California Lottery’s list of "Lucky Retailers."